I'm now studying Compositing at Escape studios. Since my tutor has worked in the industry for many years as a compositor I asked if she knows what kind of skills companies want to see in a matte painting reel. She came back to me with the following e-mail from her colleige:
There are typical things I look for in a candidate:
I'm more keen on seeing well integrated elements than a bunch of fantastic stuff thrown together without any integration
-Snowing up scenes (adding snow to forest, cities)
-Day for night scenes (adding lights to a city, buildings etc)
-Set extension (ie. extending a skyscraper)
-plate combination (empty desert + mountains)
-plate relighting (painting lights on a plate of a mountain with an overcast sky or inversely, removing light from a plate)
Those would be all good excercises to determine his skills. Concepts and drawings are nice but he must be mindful that if he's applying in one particular field, he needs to focus his demo on that. Please tell him to make sure his demo reel plays on a dvd player before sending it.
So I now have a list of what I have to do and I know the final size ( DVD ). I'm planning to paint these in HD resolution so I can resize them to DVD in the end to make it a little bit sharper. I've also decided that the aspect ratio will be widescreen (16:9).
The footage I have for these is in HD (1920x1080 pixels) so I'm going to work in that size and resize them to proper size when they are all done.
So I started with Set Extension, and this has some plate combination in it too.
I'm using three different plates for this and the camera movement will be a simple nodal pan.